March 22, 2009

Beyond Borders Film Festival

As I mentioned last month there's a lot going on in the Twin Cities movie scene these days. Mini-festivals and series and preview screenings - it's been one of the busiest spring movie seasons here in years, and we're not close to done yet (check the sidebar for a look ahead).

Several additional events have been confirmed since I wrote that post, one of which is the inaugural Beyond Borders Film Festival (BBFF), taking place from Wednesday, March 25th, to Sunday, March 29th, at the The Parkway Theater in South Minneapolis (48th & Chicago, adjacent to Pepito's). Here's the low-down (down low?) on this new festival, from its website:

"The Beyond Borders Film Festival, presented by the non-profit Rimé Foundation, uses film and cultural performances to educate the general population about our world’s rich cultural diversity, to inspire others to get involved in cross-cultural exchanges, and to promote awareness about important social and cultural organizations operating in the areas where the festival is held. [Hmm, do you think that's up my alley?]

As such, the Beyond Borders Film Festival showcases films and cultural performances that uplift the human spirit, and demonstrate respect and wonder for human creativity and the natural environment. Exploring the ties that bind all people together, the festival addresses the spiritual and cultural impulses that accompany the human condition, as well as the many ways we express these impulses."

And the icing on the cake, as Colin Covert noted in his feature on the BBFF in Sunday''s Strib, is that "As a nonprofit enterprise, the film series will donate its income to Twin Cities social service organizations."

"Films that inspire" or, "Films that don't star Nicolas Cage".

I first heard about the BBFF in early December from Jim Brunzell, formerly of Minnesota Film Arts and now all-around freelance Twin Cities movie guru. He covered Sundance in January for the TC Daily Planet, co-hosts KFAI's weekly "Movie Talk", and was tapped as a programmer for the BBFF due to his festival know-how and years of hard work in helping Al Milgrom with MSPIFF (which is coming up in just over three short weeks, by the way).

I was going to put out some questions to Jim about the BBFF and post his answers here, but he beat me to it (not surprisingly as I've been behind on everything for the last three months) in a post on MnDialog last week. In it, Jim explains how he became involved with the BBFF, how and why he chose the films that will be screening, and which ones in particular you get excited about.

Also, to hear more about how the festival came together,
take a listen to a just-posted interview with Jim and co-director of the BBFF, Jennifer Manion, on Movie Natters, the MPR movie blog dutifully maintained by Euan Kerr.

Must-sees on my personal list are:
- Sita Sings the Blues (which I remember the reliable Marilyn Ferdinand praising last fall)
- Revanche (Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, from Austria)
- Art & Copy (documentary on advertising from Doug Pray, director of last year's brilliant Surfwise)
- Sugar (from the team behind Half Nelson, and one I've been anxiously awaiting for well over a year)

I've also been wanting to see Older than America (starring Adam Beach and hesitantly recommended by Matt Gamble) for the last year, but unfortunately I'm on tap to see "Rent" at the Orpheum on Thursday night so I'll miss it again. The good news is that I'm going to be volunteering at BBFF on Saturday night and all day Sunday, so I'll see all those from my list plus the recommended Big Man Japan, as well as a handful of others.

Find the full schedule and quite a bit more on the BBFF website.

But to make it easier I've just copied the whole thing below, and I'll also urge you to take advantage of the brilliant arrangement the BBFF developed with Victor's 1959 Cafe. And if you're not up for that (though I don't know why you wouldn't be), there's always Pepito's literally right next door to the Parkway, and as far as I know you'll still be allowed to bring all kinds of food and drink from Pepito's right into the theater, where, if you're really lucky and really early, you'll score a seat on one of the plush leather couches.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Native Voices Program

Opening night kicks off at 6:30 p.m. with world champion northern style drumming group Midnite Express, followed by a talk by Winona LaDuke, environmental activist, author, Green Party vice-presidential candidate (1996 and 2000), and founding director of White Earth Land Recovery Project.

The presence of Midnite Express and Winona LaDuke is sponsored by Larry Levanthal.

Film screenings for opening night, which begins at 6:30 p.m., include:

Before Tomorrow

Native Nations: Standing Together for Civil Rights, introduced by Minnesotan social activist and filmmaker Sydney Beane

Buy tickets for opening night now!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Native Voices Program: Native American Women Filmmakers Night

Augmenting this evening’s film screenings, Mohawk director Tracey Deer, Minnesotan filmmaker Missy Whiteman, and Older Than America director Georgina Lightning will speak about their work in a panel moderated by Augsburg College professor Elise Marubbio.

Film screenings/panel:

5:00 p.m.: Mohawk Girls

6:20 p.m.: shorts by Missy Whiteman, Club Native, Native American women filmmakers panel discussion with Tracey Deer, Missy Whiteman, Georgina Lightning, moderated by Professor Elise Marubbio (Augsburg College, Department of American Indian Studies). Buy tickets now!

9:00 p.m.: Older Than America Buy tickets now!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Buddhist Wisdom Program

This evening’s program explores the intersection of ancient Tibetan Buddhist wisdom and the modern world through the eyes of three documentary filmmakers.

Film screenings:

5:30 p.m: Daughters of Wisdom

7:00 p.m.: Unmistaken Child U.S. premiere Buy tickets now!

9:00 p.m.: The Dhamma Brothers Buy tickets now!

Late Night Friday, March 27, 2009

Bill Plympton Spotlight

Two new films from the incomparable Bill Plympton.

Film screenings:

10:30 p.m.: Idiots and Angels and Hot Dog Buy tickets now!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Children’s Animation/Imagination Program

A morning of three delightful animated shorts to ignite the imagination of children large and small.

Film screenings:

11:00 a.m.: Raven Tales: The Gathering; Dorme; The Mantis Parable

Saturday, March 28, 2009 & Sunday, March 29, 2009

New U.S. Indies and World Cinema Program

Saturday’s and Sunday’s offerings are from among the newest and hottest films on the national and international film festival circuits.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Film screenings:

1:00 p.m.: Tricks

3:00 p.m.: Beautiful Losers

5:00 p.m.: Kisses

6:45 p.m.: Sita Sings the Blues Buy tickets now!

9:00 p.m.: Revanche 2009 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film Buy tickets now!

Midnight Madness

11:30 p.m.: Big Man Japan Buy tickets now!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Film screenings:

11:00 a.m.: The Unwinking Gaze

1:00 p.m.: Worlds Apart

3:00 p.m.: Art & Copy

5:00 p.m.: Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love

7:00 p.m.: Sugar Q&A with directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck Buy tickets now!

Ticket* prices:

Opening night: $15 at the door; $12 special on-line purchase; $10 at the door for students and seniors

General admission: $9 at the door; $7 at the door for students and seniors; $8 on-line for screenings after 6:00 pm

Children’s Animation/Imagination Program: $5 for everyone

Bill Plympton Spotlight: $7 for everyone; on-line purchase available

Midnight Madness/Big Man Japan: $7 for everyone; on-line purchase available

All-access pass: $75 (includes opening and closing nights); on-line purchase available

5-screening pass: $30 (doesn’t include opening and closing nights); on-line purchase available

Closing night: $15 at the door; $12 special on-line purchase; $10 at the door for students and seniors

* Tickets for all screenings that start after 6:00 p.m. are available for purchase on-line starting Wednesday, March 11. All-access and 5-screening passes area also available for purchase on-line.


  1. Hot Dog is cute, but Plympton's feature is a snore.

    Thanks for the plug, Daniel. You'll have a great time at Sita.

  2. Sure thing, I'm looking forward to it and would have been oblivious if not for your review.

    I actually saw Hot Dog and gave it brief mention in my review of the Oscar Animated Shorts last month, but I found the obnoxious urinating and hectic tone kind of annoying - all the more frustrating because I kind of like his style of animation. It's too bad because Hot Dog has made me uninterested in seeing his feature, so maybe I should check out his other shorts.

  3. He has a whole series of Hot Dog shorts, I believe. he was at the screening for that (it was part of the Short Animation program I saw) signing autographs. Plympton tends to annoy me a lot - never knows when to quit.

  4. Yeah it looks as though the dog shorts are all sequels in a series. And I think what you mention about "quitting" was what irritated me about Hot Dog. It was so repetitive and in my face, and seemed a lot longer than it should have been.

    But I can barely draw a stick figure, so that's about as far as I can go with criticizing someone else's animation.

  5. The Ventura Film Festival, which was started in 2004 by Jordan Older and his father, has recently concluded its

    first event of 2009 at the Majestic Ventura Theater in Ventura, California with the Ventura Film Festival "Fun Day"

    on February 16, 2009 at 2pm.

    The Ventura Film Festival is a combination online and traditional film festival requiring all submissions to be

    uploaded online and submitted via traditional means. The Ventura Film Festival has maintained that one of it's main

    goals is to give a large part of any proceeds to forest and ocean preservation efforts. The Ventura Film Festival

    features independent films from around the world and from local film makers focusing on environmental issues such as

    forest and ocean preservation, humanitarian issues, surf, skate, extreme/action sports, sports, martial arts, and

    music films.

    The Ventura Film Festival opened it’s 2009 events on Monday February 16, 2009 at the Majestic Ventura Theater in

    Ventura, California with a “fun day”. The event marked the 6th anniversary of the Ventura Film Festival which was

    started by Jordan Older and his father in 2004. The Ventura Film Festival board of directors were present to show

    their selection of currently received entries for the 2009 Ventura Film Festival. The festival board includes

    Hollywood film makers Dustin Dean and U.S. Olympian John Godina who is the most decorated shot putter in U.S.

    athletics history. Ventura Film Festival is a green organization and accepts entries and submissions online at the

    festival’s official web site, Part of the profits from the Ventura Film Festival

    will go directly towards environmental issues such as forest and ocean preservation. The “fun day” served as a warm

    up for the main event of the 2009 Ventura Film Festival which takes place on July 5th.

    The Ventura Film Festival gives out no awards. We prefer not to have competition and to simply celibrate great

    films as works of art and enjoy a fun event that provides support for environmental issues such as forest and ocean

    preservation. From time to time we may give notice of special recognition to certain films.

    The Ventura Film Festival has become a partner with the world's biggest film festival marketing organization

    Withoutabox. The partnership was on request of Withoutabox executive Sara Nixon-Kershner on Feburary 18, 2008.

    Withoutabox provides submission and marketing service to over 200,000 filmmakers in 200 countries as well as manage

    submission receiving, judging, and notification, schedule publishing, and the ability to sell tickets using targeted

    ads on well known film site IMDB.

    Submitting to the Ventura Film Festival is a two step process. BOTH STEPS ARE REQUIRED!!!

    1) upload your submission to (REQUIRED)


Related Posts with Thumbnails